Sunday, April 3, 2011

Taken at a Glance

It's amazing how deep, and often erroneous, an impression is made by a swift glance, and we all know first impressions are lasting impressions. This holds true whether you're meeting people or ideas.



Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Madame Currie, Albert Einstein all had what were considered outlandish ideas in their day, ideas that garnered ridicule and mockery from those who didn't, or couldn't, grasp the new-fangled concepts or see past their own limitations. Yet history applauds these visionaries, and their contributions effect us even today.

These people didn't allow the opinions of others to derail them despite repeated failures. They had a goal, a vision, and they did whatever it took to see that goal or vision reach fruition.

Lately, I have seen much discussion on indie publishing. I'm not talking vanity press, I'm talking publishing via ebooks or print-on-demand without benefit of a publishing house of any kind.

I'm an old-fashioned girl, and at first glance, I thought the idea outlandish, just like those folks who though Bell, Edison, Currie, and Einstein mad. But numbers don't lie.

Yes, there are people publishing Musings on My Left Big Toe; those people have always been with us and have always found a way to get their foot fetish into print somewhere. I have also, however, read some excellent books that would have found a home in the major publishing houses in the time before bean-counters ran the show.

The sad truth is there are a lot of good books being dismissed in deference to a hill of beans.

I understand the need to make a profit. I understand marketing's need for neat little niches to make selling easier in a fluctuating marketplace. It makes me sad, however, to see excellent books given the go-by because they don't slide neatly into a nice round hole. So, indie publishing it is for many books with unique and unusual concepts.

Personally, being an old-fashioned girl, I hope the day never comes when publishing as we know it ceases to exist. That would be tragic. Yet I fear the day may, indeed, come because the old-fashioned way of doing things is losing ground to advancing technology.

While I can hope eyes will be opened and changes made before it's too late, it might just be time consider an altered perception and take a second glance.


Elisa said...

It's wild seeing where things are going....

I have a terrible habit of arriving on the cusp of something just as the old doors are closing--but maybe all sorts of new doors will be open within the next couple of years.

Here's to jumping through with both feet!!

Cate Rowan said...

Thanks for weighing in. *hugs*

Options are wonderful things. :) I'm absolutely thrilled to be a writer during this amazing time in the industry. Sure beats the last ten years, LOL!

Gwynlyn said...

Elisa, I'm prone to err on the side of caution, myself. Big toe, one foot, etc. But this time, I may just have to consider taking the plunge and devil take the hindmost!

Gwynlyn said...

Thanks, Cate. Kismet's Kiss is a fabulous book, and despite that little indie-author altercation earlier, I think most authors will make every effort to behave professionally.

You're a trailblazer and one heck of a roll model, my friend.

Cate Rowan said...


Thanks, gal. That means a great deal to me.

If you choose to explore self-pub, I'll be cheering you all the way. (But then again, I'll be cheering you all the way whichever path you take. :0) )

And yes, most indies behave professionally. That author was no more representative of all indie authors than a single piece of fruit represents all fruit. :)

Gwynlyn said...

Cheering me? Hah, you should be so lucky to get off that easy. I'll need a road map. Feeling like Rand McNally?

Cate Rowan said...

Hahaha! I feel more like a mother duck escorting a bunch of ducklings safely across the road. And at the same time, I'm one of the ducklings of a mother duck who's gone before me! It's all good. :)

Vivi Andrews said...

It's a brave new world. I think the publishing industry was overdue for some changes, but still worry that readers will be scared off by My Left Big Toe. It will be interesting to see how book buying habits change as the roles that publishers and bookstores play shift in the coming years. Whatever happens it'll be fun to watch.

Gwynlyn said...

What? You don't think there's an eager market for Musing on My Left Big Toe? *G*

I agree, change is going to be necessary. It will probably be painful, but there is no avoiding it---at least not if publishing wants to survive.

As for fun. I'm not sure about that, but we're going to find out!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Gwynlyn! Yes, it does seem like self-publishing has exploded in the past few months. Or maybe I'm just becoming more aware of it. My hope is that all good books will find an audience, however they're distributed.

Gwynlyn said...

Great attitude, Vanessa. It's rather like the Velveteen Rabbit; he couldn't become real until he'd been well loved. The same could be said for the many books languishing on a million hard drives.

Bev Pettersen said...

Insightful post and loved the analogy. The options we have are so exciting and thanks to Cate and other brave souls who blazed the way and generously shared their experiences. I love reading all the different books available-- and more coming. YAY!

Diane said...

I am excited to see that this avenue of publishing is exploding, although I do worry that some books that aren't up to standards will scare potential readers off.

Also, a friend who went to an agent/editor panel said on this subject they indicate that they see indie publishing as a sign of impatience. Of course, they would say this and we all know that Cate was NOT impatient and her wonderful book Kismet's Kiss simply didn't fit into that box and yet needed to be published.

The suggestion from the industry professionals was if you are going indie publishing while still pursuing New York to use a different name--unless, of course, your name is Amanda Hocking. :)

Gwynlyn said...

It's exciting and scary at the same time, isn't it? So many good books, so little time!

Gwynlyn said...

Good thought, Diane. I admit, I'd prefer to go the tried and true route---I tend to be a rules follower---but it's lovely to have options.

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